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For the past two months, we’ve seen in various reports how under acting Attorney General Karl Rove, the Department of Justice pressured U.S. attorneys across the country to commence frivolous prosecutions of voting fraud cases. The cases were generally aggregated in close proximity to elections, in violation of the Department’s published policies, with two objectives. The first was to suppress voter registration efforts focused on traditionally Democratic constituencies, such as inner-city Blacks and Hispanics, and the second, to create a false impression in the mind of the public that the Democrats were engaged in voter fraud. As the New York Times discovered in its study, most of the voting fraud cases failed because there was no basis to pursue them, and even the cases which succeeded generally showed bona fide mistakes or misunderstandings, not any sort of fraud.
So, what happens when a prominent Republican figure is caught red-handed engaging in voter fraud? Über-Republican Ann Coulter was discovered to have falsified a voter registration in Palm Beach County, Florida, and to have voted. This perfectly tracks the factual pattern of a series of criminal prosecutions brought by Steven Biskupic, one of the originally targeted U.S. attorneys – in Milwaukee – who subsequently redeemed himself through political skullduggery.
However, in the Coulter case, the U.S. attorney’s office showed no interest in the case. State law enforcement officials did, however. And today we learn that the criminal investigation was closed—as a result of a direct intervention by federal officials supporting Coulter. The Palm Beach Post reports:
Conservative pundit Ann Coulter has been cleared of allegations that she falsified her Palm Beach County voter’s registration and voted illegally — this, after a high-level FBI agent made unsolicited phone calls to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office to vouch for Coulter.
But wait, it gets still better:
County Supervisor of Elections Arthur Anderson, meanwhile, decried what he called “FBI intrusion.” He referred the Coulter case to PBSO after poll worker Jim Whited originally reported the incident. “This doesn’t bode well in terms of the public’s impression that celebrities receive preferential treatment,” Anderson said. “I’m curious about how anyone can justify the FBI’s intrusion.”
First-year Detective Kristine Villa in December was assigned the job of investigating whether Coulter committed a felony in February 2006, when she cast her ballot in the wrong precinct in a Palm Beach election after registering to an address that wasn’t hers.Villa’s report leaves the clear impression that Coulter’s attorney, Miami’s Marcos Jimenez, stonewalled Villa for five months—at times agreeing to make Coulter available, at others reneging, often not returning calls promptly or claiming not to be able to reach his client.
So there you have the Gonzales/Rove Justice Department at work. Voting fraud involving someone suspected of voting as a Democrat—throw the book at them and best do it right in the midst of an election campaign for maximum benefit to the Party. Voting fraud involving a Republican activist—support efforts to stonewall local law enforcement and then intervene to shut things down. Welcome to Bushworld.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Rank of Italy, Argentina, and Libya in annual per capita pasta consumption:
A barn owl in Wiltshire failed to deliver two wedding rings and instead fell asleep in church.
In the United States, legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act was advanced by the House Ways and Means Committee after 18 hours of deliberation, during which time the Republican members of Congress passed around candy.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."